TMJ Guide

TMJ Symptoms And Treatment: REVEALED

To be precise, temporomandibular joint symptoms are as varied as their treatment protocols. This treatise intends to take up the symptoms first while devoting itself to the treatment procedures later.


To simplify the intricacy of the TMJ symptoms, these are categorized to three basic types – Primary, Secondary and Atypical. As a matter of fact, the primary symptoms of the TMJ disorder relate to those that are common, easy to identify and are mostly present in casual, acute and chronic cases, while the secondary symptoms are less common, somewhat deceptive, often leading to misdiagnosis. As for atypical TMJ symptoms, they can create more migraine in the attending physician than in the TMJ sufferer. However, all three are discussed here for the benefit of the reader.


Primary TMJ Symptoms


These symptoms of the TMJ disorder relate to inflammation and pain in the jaw joint that is accompanied by tenderness in the neighboring muscles, tendons, ligaments, tissues and bones. There is uneasiness in opening and closing the jaw (in other words, the mouth) – clicking or popping sound whenever the jaw is opened and restricted mouth opening (biting an apple becomes a difficult proposition). Primary TMJ symptoms also include headache, ear ache (without any infection, discharge or loss of hearing), pain in the forehead and other facial areas (myofascial pain syndrome) and sinus-like stuffiness and tenderness.


Secondary TMJ Symptoms


These are a bit illusory and so needs more careful observation and they include sensitivity to light, blurred vision, pain behind the eyeball that is associated with a feeling of pressure behind the eyes and watering in the eyes.


As for the ears, a majority of TMJ sufferers complain about hearing Tinnitus-like sounds in their ears. Although it may create suspense among many as to why TMJ disorder patients tend to hear ringing, hissing, whooshing and roaring sounds as in Tinnitus, in reality it is a rather unfussy occurrence. This happens because of a tendon called Pinto’s Ligament that connects the TMJ with the middle ear and therefore is responsible for transmitting any stress related event from the TMJ to the mid-ear with significant effect.


Secondary TMJ symptoms also include cluster headache, migraines and tenderness in the scalp and hair roots as well as pain in the cheek, chin and around the mouth. In fact, the entire facial area becomes painful on account of the temporomandibular jaw joint dysfunction.


Doctors looking for TMJ symptoms should also check for unusually painful neck muscles, swallowing problems and sore throat without any trace of infection or other external causes since these are also indicators of the temporomandibular joint disorder.


Atypical TMJ Symptoms


These include swelling in the jaw and cheek which becomes more pronounced on the side that is affected. Even though inflammation in and around the affected jaw is a common feature of TMJ, it seldom extends to the neighboring areas. Among the more unusual TMJ disorder symptoms, numbness in the fingers may be described as unique and exceptional. However, it rarely occurs and most often goes away on its own.


Yet another uncharacteristic symptom of TMJ disorder very rarely experienced by chronic TMJ patients concern constant jaw dislocation without accompanying pain or other signs of distress. The situation often gets so exasperating that the patient has to sleep with a hard pillow pressing against the affected joint lest the jaw gets dislocated while in sleep.


TMJ Treatment Options And What Really Works


Since most TMJ disorders arise out of misalignment of the jaw, dislocation of the jaw joint as well as displacement of the mandibular disc, treatment procedures include Arthrocentesis, Arthroplasty and Discectomy; out of which Arthrocentesis, which is performed for irrigating the temporomandibular joint is the least invasive and risk-free treatment option for TMJ disorder. However it is always best to contact the physician first for these surgical measures for TMJ cure.


Performed under general anesthesia or IV sedation, the operating surgeon injects the temporomandibular joint with local anesthetic and a viscous solution to flush out inflamed fluids. Sometimes steroids are also pushed to take care of excessive swelling.


However, Arthroplasty which refers to several forms of open surgery for temporomandibular joint including disc repositioning, discectomy and joint replacement (if the joint is found totally degenerated) may vary from minimally invasive to complex forms of surgery with usual accompanying risks. In fact the chances of post operative pain, bleeding and infection are there, to be honest about it. Moreover, the probability of injury to the sensitive facial motor nerves can not be totally ruled out.


Home TMJ Remedies, Exercises To Relieve TMJ & More


There are many treatment options really for those who want TMJ relief, but can they really provide the relief? The answer to this is ‘No’. TMJ home remedies, exercises, conventional and over the counter solutions can all provide relief from the symptoms, but these symptoms almost always come back to haunt the person again. This is because, the root causes remain within the body and there treatments do not try to solve these root causes.


On the other hand, holistic remedies treat the body as a whole and identify these contributing factors that cause TMJ, and treat them. Thus once these root causes go away, the symptoms go too. And since there are no more root causes within the body, the TMJ problem never comes back again to worry the person.

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